Friday, July 24, 2015

Slow Cooker Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms...

I'm baaaack..... No matter how busy my week or day gets, the cooking must go on. Scrumptious lasagna emerging from a slow-cooker? You betcha'! Beat the summer heat without turning on your oven, and use your crock-pot for an easy tend-to-free lasagna you can come home to-- with a kitchen smelling of heavenly goodness, and that's hot and ready when you are to savour. The great thing is you add whatever you like-- cottage or ricotta cheeses, a combination of meats, shredded zucchini, carrots, other types of mushrooms, how about chopped up kale... all smothered and soft, blended in a meat cheese sauce that makes it fantastic for your picky eaters! Just make sure there is enough sauce to cover the noodles in the pot otherwise they will dry up and burn before it cooks through.

Slow Cooker Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms
Makes 8 servings

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. liquid beef bouillon
1 tsp. dried oregano
225 g mushrooms, wiped and chopped
1 bunch spinach, washed, chopped and excess water squeezed out with your hands
1 can (796 mL) crushed tomatoes or if using pasta sauce, omit liquid beef bouillon
1 can (170 g) tomato paste (I had leftover paste frozen in a bag)
15 lasagna noodles, uncooked
shredded mozzarella cheese, or in combination with asiago/parmesan cheeses
chopped parsley as garnish

Cook's NOTE: Adjust seasoning accordingly; if sauces are already seasoned reduce the salt and omit beef bouillon. Taste after cooking. Add sugar if necessary to balance the flavours. 

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high and cook onions and garlic for a few minutes until aromatic and soft; brown the beef while sautéing, breaking up clumps. Add 
salt, oregano and beef bouillon (if using), mushrooms and spinach; cook for two minutes. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook long enough to heat through.

Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with cheese. Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheese until all are used up. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. Turn to keep warm when ready. Do not rush the process by cooking on high as the edges of the noodles will burn. 

I am not big on cheese, so I use it sparingly. But if you love it-- go to town!

Set it, forget it for a few hours-- go about your day and come home to deliciousness!

Done!! Turn it to keep warm.. eat whenever you're ready!

Removing it out of the pot is a cinch. Just slice and scoop with a big spoon or ladle.

Dig in my loves! NOM NOM!

"No more photos please mom... I just want to eat in peace!!"

 Hearty and rounded out with Homemade Caesar Salad, garlic bread and some olives!

For other Italian or Picky Eater--inspired posts, select these categories in labels on the right column. Happy eats! 

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